Mark Twain

The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain is a light, short, and quick read illustrating Twain’s humor and his keen eye for observing human foibles. The diary entries are in two parts, beginning with Adam’s entries.

Adam is portrayed as a cranky curmudgeon who wants to be left alone. He is curious about this new creature who enters his garden, follows him around, names everything, and irritates him with her talk, talk, talk. His entries get even funnier when he tries to determine the species of the new creature that monopolizes Eve’s attention. He observes the creature’s growth, and through a process of elimination, decides it must be some sort of kangaroo or bear before eventually realizing it’s a boy named Cain.

Eve’s dairy entries are not as funny as Adam’s. She is outgoing, curious, intelligent, observant, and adventurous. She befriends animals to alleviate her loneliness and expresses wonder at all she sees in the skies and in nature. Eventually, she and Adam become an item. She declares her love for him in gushing terms and admits she loves him “merely because he is masculine.” She then subsumes her identity to please Adam and claims she would love him even if he were to beat her. Such comments are sure to rankle, as will the gender stereotyping and the normative heterosexuality. But the sarcastic humor and light-hearted tone suggest the work should not be taken too seriously and is just Mark Twain having a bit of fun.

AuthorTamara Agha-Jaffar